Creating the perfect bathroom in terms of both appearance and safety requires more than just attention to your current needs, but the needs you may have as you continue to age. Taking steps to create a more accessible bathroom now can save you time and cash on future remodels. The following tips can help you incorporate some accessibility options into your next bathroom remodel.
Tip #1: Upgrade the Tub
If a tub is a must in your bathroom, consider a walk-in bathtub. These are a luxurious option at any age, but especially useful for those with mobility or joint issues. These deep tubs are easy to access and have a built-in seat for maximum relaxation. You can even get jacuzzi or whirlpool models, which are both relaxing and soothing for conditions like arthritis.
Tip #2: Make Showers Accessible
For those that prefer a shower, opt for a walk-in version that doesn't have a step to get in. Even if you don't have trouble with a simple step now, you could develop issues later. Consider installing a built-in shower seat and safety bars, as well. Glass doors are a common upgrade that are also great for accessibility. Choose the type that swings open, since this provides a larger entrance than those that slide.
Tip #3: Choose the Right Toilet
"Comfort height," or ADA-approved toilets, sit 17 to 19 inches above the ground. This is taller than a standard toilet, which allows those with joint, hip, or knee issues, or those in a wheelchair, the ability to sit and then get up more easily. The seats are often wider as well, 60 inches in ADA-approved models, which gives a more sturdy and supportive base to those with balance issues. Comfort height toilets manufactured for home use come in a variety of designs that are attractive and not institutional looking.
Tip #4: Brace for the Future
Safety bars may become a must-have item in the future as you age. These are usually placed near the toilet, by the sink, and sometimes in entrance areas. It's a good idea to prepare for their installation when your walls are opened up during your remodel, even if you don't need them yet nor plan on installing them right now. An effective safety bar requires strong wall supports, otherwise it simply pulls out of the wall when it is used. Your contractor can install extra bracing, or studs, in the wall during your remodel, so it will be a snap to install the bars later, if necessary.
For more information on bathroom remodels, talk to a professional like those at Foothill Bath, Kitchen, Window Corp.